Work is expected to start over the next couple of months on transforming Torquay's main coach station.
The Lymington Road site will be overhauled following a decision by Torbay Council’s planning committee.
The old station, widely seen as an eyesore and a focus of anti-social behaviour, will be knocked down and replaced with five new business units for letting, three new coach parking bays and a new lavatory and waiting area.
The station currently has four coach bays, but planners say the updated facility will be able to cope with demand with one fewer. The spaces will be used for picking up and dropping off passengers only.
The redesign, part of a bid to improve the experience for travellers, will also include new coach shelters, a new information board and improved CCTV and lighting.
The plans were deferred last November and again in December to give time to settle concerns with the Environmental Agency about flooding and drainage. The worries have now been addressed.
The application, unanimously approved by the planning committee, was made by the Torbay Development Agency, Torbay Council’s economic development company.
Councillors hope the decision will be the last stop in a long line of false starts. In December 2020, Torbay Council’s cabinet agreed to put £850,000 into the coach station. Since then, costs of construction have risen sharply and the council decided to improve the proposed facilities.
It will borrow £1.36 million from its own Growth Fund towards the new station. Another £2 million will come from Heart of the South West LEP, a partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and colleges.
The council says the project will create 29 full-time construction jobs and 38 permanent jobs. It is also expected to boost Torbay’s economy by £2.5 million per year.
Speaking to Torbay Council’s cabinet in November, Councillor Darren Cowell (Independent Group, Shiphay), deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, said the current coach station is “not a welcoming sight for visitors coming to Torquay.
“The facilities there are woeful and it has been a source of frustration for the local community for many years.”
Cllr Cordelia Law went further: “Our coach station was once a real thriving, vibrant place to arrive and now it’s like arriving post-apocalypse. This is so needed.”
Building work at the station is expected to start in February or March.
Torbay Weekly Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.